Homopolar Motor With Five Speed Manual Stick-Shift

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Introduction: Homopolar Motor With Five Speed Manual Stick-Shift

About: I am re-inventing myself as an inventor, after too many years as a mechanic! I enjoy learning from Tesla disc Turbines, magnetic motors, and Crystal Quantum Radios. "All children are artists. The problem...


This video show how to build a homopolar motor that's really different...it's got a five-speed shifter!

The homopolar motor is the simplest design electrical motor in the world. It uses a battery, a neodymium magnet and a wire. Usually, either the copper wire or the magnet rotates. In this case the battery rotates.

Here, I've used a battery, a neo magnet, and a copper wire wrapped around a coat-hanger. The coat-hanger acts as both electrical connection and support for the hanging battery. Coins are used to change speeds of the rotating "battery-plus-change" motor.

I've been recently told that US coins, being non-magnetic, won't work for this Instructable. (Sorry about that!) Perhaps the US coins could be glued together to make it work. Furthermore, some Canadian pennies are magnetic and some are not.

You can order the BEST neodymium super-magnets from K&J Magnetics here.

See more of my homopolar motor videos at :
http://ca.youtube.com/MrfixitRick

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    101 Comments

    Which specific magnet did you use for this motor? I'd like to know exactly which one before I order it for my Grade 6 science class. Is it axially or diametrically magnetized? Thanks

    penny, nickel, dime, dollar, 2 dollar

    which Canadian coins did you use like in money wise

    Check my other comments about this in the main page. The comments here are jumbled with the timing.

    Im also useing diff size washers bcuz we dont have the coins avalb .. With a 18g copper wire ...??? Help

    5 replies

    Have you been able to suspend the battery ok? Can you make the battery spin by using a jumper wire from +terminal of battery to the magnet?

    Ive done the jumper cable u suggested and it worked but thats not gonna change the gears??

    Ok i was able to do a jumper cable like u said but that still not helping in changeing the gears in diff speeds just runs off the batt if i do the jumper thing??

    No i have not ? i did your one idea of sanding down the hanger and nothing .. Its not working .. I also did the magnet with just the battery and nothing .. I couldnt find the 1/2 inch thick kind of Neodymium magnet so i got what was alvb the 7 in (18mm by 3mm) battery that comes with three in a pack so im trying the three together so far it will only spin with the copper touching the batt.. ?? Am i still not doing anythhing rt .. And also not useing coins i am useing the washers in diff sz. But makeing it in similar sz of the coins u used in the video???

    If it runs with the jumper, then there is a contact problem somewhere between the 18 ga copper wire and the coat-hanger, or at the contact point of the copper wire and the washers. Make sure the coils are tight on the coat-hanger.

    Is the copper wire perhaps coated with resin and must be sanded too?

    Make sure the washers will conduct electricity. (they may have a coating to prevent corrosion) Try putting a penny in between the magnet and the washers and make contact with that. If that works, then there may be a contact problem with the washers.

    The copper wire must be clean and shiny where it makes contact at each end. The coils must be quite tight on the coat-hanger to make contact.

    im trying to help my son do this project step by step the homopolar 5 speed motor with everything you said that he will need all the material exactly the same and we cant get this thing up and going and i need help what am i doing wrong ..please help project due asap! Thanks

    1 reply

    This project is tricky, and i pushed the envelope in regards to all the variables. So, let's find out where the weakness is...

    !.) Strong fully-charged battery (NiMH rechargeable 2500 or better MaH)
    2.) Strong magnets (N52 strength if possible)
    3.) The copper wire must make connection to the coat hanger (coat hanger resin must be sanded off
    4.) The point of contact of the coat hanger with battery is critical. Too rounded, and it wont work. Too pointed and battery will fall off.
    5.) The angle of the wire contacting the coins is critical.

    Perhaps try experimenting with just getting a magnet and battery to spin first, then add the coins.

    Let me know what you have done, or send a picture of your setup so I can see what is happening.

    Cheers, Rick

    You can actually use pennies dated before 1981 (thats when they switched over to the zinc alloy).

    Can any coins which are made of steel, be used to make this motor work?

    1 reply

    Yes, steel coins or steel washers will work.

    I liked his creation, really.

    In this video you can see a micro motor homopolar:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4fI0MAu1Vs

    Greetings and congratulations

    1 reply

    I like your "cute" motor creation as well...nice work!